Our first stop on this tour of everything-bagelization: soft pretzel bites. Have you made pretzel bites yet? Wowzer. They are every bit as incredible as typical soft pretzels (these taste just like Auntie Anne’s and I do not make that comparison lightly), but with a two-bite size that is made for Superbowl parties. Or movie nights, or days ending in y. Add some everything bagel sprinkle to this equation and you have yourself a truly next-level, transcendent snack food.
I’ve been making pork potstickers for family and friends for years- they have always been improvised and slightly unique each time, and I never wrote the recipe down until I prepared the little dumplins you see pictured before you. We took a long camping weekend up in Washington last month with some loved ones where I was reminded by Ben’s cousin Alex that I once made these potstickers for him several years ago, long before we all migrated to our respective corners of the Pacific Northwest. He told me emphatically that they were so delicious that he has since never forgotten about them. It warmed my heart! The whiskey helped, too.
If you’re an Oregonian I don’t need to explain anything to you about Rogue Brewery, but to my Wisconsin readership- should you ever happen upon a bottle of their Hazelnut Brown Nectar in your parts, it is recommended that you set aside your fierce (and justified) loyalties, just for a moment, and snatch it up quick. Besides being one of Oregon’s most beloved local breweries, Rogue also serves pretty solid bar fare at their brick-and mortar pubs. Really- their tots are no joke. These crab cake sliders are inspired by my favorite small plate at my neighborhood’s Rogue pub. In creating this recipe, I am keeping with their simple concept of crab cakes, kimchi, and mayo on sweet rolls. However, sorry-not-sorry, Rogue… mine win big, hands-down.
There are a lot of things you can half-ass in life. Folding fitted sheets. Flossing. Recycling. Keeping up on oil changes (okay, I didn’t say you should). Yes, there are myriad opportunities to half-ass in life. But the rub with adulting is that most times, you shouldn’t, because consequences. Speaking generally, there is a direct relationship between the effort you put in, and the quality of the result.
Does anyone else struggle for lunch ideas, or is it just me? Saturday morning before Ben wakes up, I curl up on the couch with my meal planning notebook, my netflix binge-show-du-jour in the background, and get to work planning food for the coming week. For the most part, I love this ritual, and usually have no trouble at all devising an entire week of inspiring dinners- all varied in texture, flavor, and nutritional attributes (of course), meals that I look forward to all week long. But then I have to choose a lunch for the work-week, and I hit a wall. I’ll then spend the next hour or even more (really!) thumbing through pinterest, foodgawker, and previous meal plans, like-
no… no… no… too many ingredients… no… I’ll get sick of that in two days… no… no… no… super unhealthy… no… no… too healthy…
So, I made a big batch of shredded chipotle beef on Sunday. It did not photograph well. However, I really believe that if the beef could talk, it would say “I have nothing to prove. Taste me.” And you would trust it, because it would sound like the improbable love-child of Morgan Freeman and James Earl Jones. And Boyz II Men would be there. And Barry White.
All things considered, I am glad that the beef cannot talk, because I have been doing shameless things with it all week. Let’s chat about nachos for a bit.